Your entry into college or university marks an important milestone in your life. It is a big decision and understandably, you might feel confused and overwhelmed. After all, choosing an institution doesn’t just come down to the fact that it offers your desired course. From financial aid to good student support, there are many factors to consider before choosing “The One”.
Take this next step with confidence. Here are 5 crucial questions to help you with your decision-making process.
#1. Where do I see myself in 5 years?
What are your career goals? Are you an aspiring doctor or an animator in the making? Do you want to climb the corporate ladder or build a million-dollar business empire?
Identifying what you want to do early on can help you make better decisions, especially when it comes to professional careers (e.g. doctor, lawyer, architect). This is because such professions require you to adhere to specific education pathways and take the right qualifications. Otherwise, you’ll risk not being able to practise in the field.
In addition, it’s also crucial to take the time to reflect and figure out what your strengths and skillsets are. What are you good at? What do you feel energised doing? What are your strong subjects? You want to choose a path where both your dream career and strengths intersect.
You may wonder, with so many graduates in Malaysia, is higher education still important?
The truth is that having an undergraduate degree is more crucial than ever. For starters, a degree will pay you 2.5 times more than an SPM qualification and 57% more than a diploma. Moreover, the Covid-19 pandemic has reminded us how essential innovation is to protect our communities, whether it’s through vaccine development or digital transformation, all of which can only be achieved through relevant education at the tertiary level.
#2. Will this course prepare me for the future?
As we move towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution and with automation on the rise, it’s crucial to take into account the changing landscape of the future as part of your tertiary education planning.
What are some of the most in-demand jobs in Malaysia? And how will automation affect your chosen field of study? Some jobs will fall out of favour while demand for certain professionals will swell. It’s essential to know how the job market will look like in the future.
At the same time, look to courses that also equip you with transferable skills. If things don’t work out, you’ll want to have ample job opportunities outside your area of study.
#3. What non-job-specific skills will I need?
It is a given that most jobs require specific hard skills. For instance, if you’re a graphic designer, you’ll need to be knowledgeable in colour theory and know your way around design software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
But a 2019 survey by LinkedIn shows that employers are placing increasing importance on soft skills such as problem-solving, communication, empathy, leadership and resilience, even in technical roles.
With that in mind, consider what soft skills will be imperative for your future career and find out if the institution you’re considering provides opportunities for you to develop these skills. This could be in the form of workshops and seminars, academic programmes, semester exchange programmes or a wide range of clubs and societies.
#4. Where do I want to study and in what environment?
Now that you’ve tackled the what, it’s time to figure out the where. Should you study overseas or stick close to home? Do you want to study in a stunning expansive campus in the outskirts or do you prefer the hustle and bustle of a city campus? These can significantly affect your living expenses, not to mention certain colleges and universities will have higher tuition fees.
In addition to location and campus environment, you’ll want to consider other factors too such as campus facilities, student support services and food options around the area. Don’t underestimate how these elements can impact your tertiary education experience.
Picking an institution from hundreds of options can be daunting. But it’s worth weighing out all your options as this will be your home for years to come.
#5. Can I afford it?
The reality is that tertiary education often comes with a hefty price tag. And we’re not just talking about the tuition fees — there’s also accommodation, books, electronics, living costs and a host of miscellaneous expenses that can amount to quite a sum.
Therefore, it’s important to plan your finances carefully so that you don’t end up struggling to make ends meet. Figure out the total cost of your education (including expenses!) and speak to your parents to see if it’s something that they can afford. You also have to consider the probability of not qualifying for a scholarship or running into unexpected financial rut.
Tertiary education is important and financial constraints shouldn’t be the reason to miss out on pursuing your education dreams.
If you need financial assistance, look no further than the Maybank Education Loan.
Apply jointly with a family member to get secured financing up to RM400,000 or 150% of your collateral value! For collateral, you can choose to pledge a fixed deposit, a property or your Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) unit.
Not so keen on pledging your collaterals? You can still get up to RM150,000 by applying for the unsecured financing option. The best part? You only need to start repaying your loan 6 months after your graduation.
What’s more, not only is the loan available for both local and overseas institutions, it also covers enrolment for twinning programmes too.
So, take advantage of this financing plan and go for the course of your choice — be it Medicine, Accounting, Engineering, Programming or Law — at your dream institution!